Sitter makes it super easy to build a team of sitters you trust but it’s also important that you know how to keep a good babysitter. The relationship between a sitter and child is as individual as the child itself. When you’ve found your Mary Poppins, you want them to stick around.

The average time a babysitter babysits for a family is about one year. But, if you have a great relationship with your babysitter, you can keep them around for years! (Unless they go off to college, join the peace corps, or something else outside of your control, of course).

Keeping a good babysitter is actually really simple if you follow these 6 tips.

6 Tips for How to Keep a Good Babysitter

Treat your babysitter with respect and kindness.

Your babysitter has an incredible responsibility – they’re taking care of your child in your absence. Don’t view it as an employee-employer relationship. View them as your peer or as part of your family.

Get to know them personally.

We can’t stress this enough. Your nanny or babysitter may technically be a household employee, but they shouldn’t be treated as such. Develop a friendship. Take a minute to simply ask them how they’re doing. Always take a little time to talk with them at the beginning or end of the job.

Over time, they may start to feel like daughters! You might end up talking to them about school, career paths, roommate drama, boyfriend drama.  Having this kind of relationship with your sitter helps you develop a deeper level of trust so you don’t have to worry when you’re out. It’s fun, too!

Set expectations.

Your sitter can’t read your mind. Make sure you communicate what you expect them to do in a polite way.  It’s a lot of information for them to take in all at once. You can track all of this in the Sitter app so your babysitter doesn’t forget. Make sure to review the following:

  • How you can be reached
  • Alternate emergency contacts
  • Bedtime routines
  • Food schedules
  • Appropriate activities (e.g. TV, video games, etc.)
  • Appropriate snacks (e.g. no ice cream or cookies)
  • Appropriate discipline
  • Any tips to calming the child down if they cry
  • Favorite toys, games, or music
  • Clean-up expectations.
  • Pay them well.

Pay them well.

Again, they’re doing a very important job. Pay them what they deserve. This is not the time to be a bargain hunter. You get what you pay for in childcare. If you don’t know what to pay them, check out our post on How Much to Pay Your Babysitter. Rates vary based on the age of the babysitter and experience, but it will give you average babysitter rates.

Be approachable.

When you get home, ask them how the kids behaved while you were gone and accept the response they give you. They may say your child is a little angel. They may say they had some troubles with your child.

If they say they had troubles, hear them out. Don’t get defensive. Ask questions.  In order for your child and sitter to have a good, long-lasting relationship, your sitter needs to understand their behaviors – what’s normal, what’s not, and how to respond. You’re the expert on your child. You’ve had loads of time to get to know them. Your sitter is just beginning. The fastest way to get them up to speed: be honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Don’t expect them to do a better job than you.

If you have trouble managing your child’s temper tantrum, don’t expect your babysitter to do any better.

If you can’t always get your child to bed on time, don’t expect your babysitter to have them sleeping like a hibernating bear at the exact time you told them.

You will come across some sitters that are baby whisperers. Others are simply babysitters who love taking care of children and want to do a good job. If you told them the kids had to be to bed at 8, and they’re still up at 9 when you get home, trust us – the babysitter is probably freaking out about it themselves. (If they aren’t, then that’s a red flag.)

We’re not saying that if your sitter isn’t handling things the way you would expect that you should completely ignore it. We’re just saying, do a gut check – ask yourself if you’ve had troubles doing what you’re asking them to do.  If you have, then be honest about it.  Let the sitter know that it’s ok, and share some wisdom so, hopefully, next time will go smoother. For example, “Oh, they’re still up? It’s ok. I’ve had nights like that too. Next time, try putting on some calming music. They like Led Zepplin. Puts them straight to sleep.”

If you follow these guidelines, you may find yourself at your babysitter’s wedding! But, also know, that even if you do follow these tips to keep a good babysitter, they may have their own reasons for moving on. Don’t take it personally or be resentful, they are normally of the age when they’re in a very transitional part of their lives. Remember when you were that age? Just be thankful, you have Sitter to find other great babysitters. And, if you don’t have Sitter, you can read our 5 Steps to Find a Good Babysitter.